Hope in Mourning

Hope, Love, and Queeromance by R.L. Merrill

Friday, September 18, 2020, delivered a massive blow to millions of Americans in a year that seems full of landmines. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a powerful woman and beacon of hope wrapped in a tiny, frail body, passed away after multiple battles with cancer. She left a legacy of legal victories that changed the lives of so many of us that her passing…hurts. Many folks cried out in despair on social media. Hundreds flocked to sites around the country to mourn. Losing Justice Ginsburg right before the upcoming election could be viewed as a sign of doom…but instead, it appears to have been a call to action.

Yes, we are afraid. Yes, the thought of what is to come can feel overwhelming, unwinnable, inescapable. We are allowed to feel these things. We are allowed to express our terror over the uncertainty. But in mourning RBG, we also have in her such an example of how to be hopeful. In the face of unbelievable odds, she fought to the bitter end to give a voice to LGBTQ folks, to women, and to the marginalized whom she shielded with all the power of the U.S. Constitution. We must turn the hope we had every time a case came before her and her fellow justices that she would protect us into the determination to protect those around us. 

Everyone has someone in their life that looks up to them, that sees them as strong in the face of adversity. As a nation, we had Justice Ginsburg, but we also have ourselves and our own inner strength. We also have our families, our friends, and our coworkers to stand beside us during these dark times. 

My way of mourning her death has been to give, and I’m grateful that I’m in a position that I can. I went online Friday night and found organizations that are fighting for the things I believe in and I gave small amounts to several. I was delighted to see folks giving in record numbers to defeat members of Congress who stand in the way of protection for all. Act Blue received over $45 million dollars from Friday evening until noon on Saturday. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez took to Instagram to grieve but also to encourage everyone to continue the fight, reminding her followers that this is not the time to give up, but to vote so that our democracy will continue. 

A call to action doesn’t have to be financial. A friend of mine made calls to voters on the other side of the country. My daughter has been educating her fellow eighteen-year-olds about voting in their first major presidential election. And I’ve had conversations with so many of my friends about what Justice Ginsburg’s life and career meant to us and how we will carry on her work in our everyday lives. All of these ways of mourning are also ways to hope, and I hope all of you can find inspiration in her legacy to fight another day. I’ll be standing beside you—well, socially distanced with a mask on—and bringing the hope. 

Stay well, stay safe, and stay hopeful.

R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor. You can also find her horror-infused music reviews at https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/author/rowritesrocknromance/

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